Gay News Makes News

HATFIELD: The Hatfield and Welwyn Advertiser burbled happily when it discovered that local talent, Barbara Cartland, the ageless authoress, had been chosen as a calendar girl by no less than Gay News.

The Adver chirruped: “She is one of 12 celebrities to illustrate the months – others include Mae West, Dusty Springfield, Cliff Richard and silent film star George Arliss.” George Arliss? The Herts Adver bubbled on: “Asked why they had singled out Miss Cartland, a joint editor of Gay News, Mr Denis Lemon, said: ‘We think she’s a rather fun lady.’”

JOHANNESBURG: Viv Prince, who writes a column for the Rand Daily Mail, reads the journalists’ trade paper UK Press Gazette.

For his Play Back column he virtually reprinted verbatim UKPG’s report of Gay News getting a bit professional. Over to you, Viv, you’re better at it than us.

“I suppose it had to come. Last week I was saying how devious our young maidens are here in Johannesburg with their liberated dating techniques. Now comes the freedom fight of the twilight male.

“It’s just been announced that Gay News – the new fortnightly for homosexuals – is getting its first full-time trained reporter.

“The lad in question, a Mr Peter Holmes, is leaving the English evening paper for which he works – ‘for a paper I can believe in’.

From here on out it just quotes the story Peter wrote for UK Press Gazette.

Such as “Said Mr Holmes: ‘It may be hard work for low pay, but it’s worth it for a paper that’s only just getting off the ground. I’ve decided to put my pay packet where my mouth was.’”

Our Viv ends up with a bit of his own: “I suppose that’s what you call being liberated.”

ED: George Arliss??

COC Fights For Army Gays

AMSTERDAM: The Dutch Society for the Integration of Homosexuality (COC) has started to fight for gays in the Netherlands army. The first step COC took was to deliver a report to the Minister of Defence. This, entitled Homosexuality, the Armed Forces and the Medical Examination, was handed over by a delegation of COC committee members, two of them dressed in Dutch Royal Army uniforms.

COC’s stand is that there have always been gays in the army and always will be, even though the army’s executive staff maintains that there are no homosexuals in the Armed Forces.

Over the past few years Dutch society has shown itself to be very positive in its appreciation of homosexuality. In the penal code homosexuality is no longer mentioned. The Minister for Social Affairs recently said in Parliament that discrimination of homosexual men and women in industry must be condemned.

But the Medical Examinations Regulations of the Armed Forces still insists that homosexuality is an illness or a deficiency that must lead to rejection.

This means that the very gays who would be able to cope with military service are rejected, whereas those who dare not come out pass as fit – but the truth is that they are very unsuited indeed to the army life.

COC calls for a new kind of medical examination. It is not important to consider whether someone is homosexual or heterosexual, but whether he is able to function in a social group. COC thinks the armed forces are based on a totally obsolete image of society.

The armed forces are characterised by a very authoritarian structure; military discipline violates the principle of equality.

COC does not express an opinion about the use of the armed forces as such. It is, however, convinced that an army has no use if it will not protect the rights of minorities when necessary, or even worse, when it will tread on the rights of those minorities

Amazing Opportunity

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No Secrets from The People

Would You Like To See Them Behind The Bar In Your Local? simpered the Sunday People, who ran the picture when the man on the left won a landlord of the year competition.

The Sunday People giggled on: “Which makes on wonder what is happening to the traditional English pub.”

For Ken Pilling, the landlord of the Merchants Hotel in Blackburn, Lancashire is gay and makes no secret of the fact. And the People giggled “some of his barmen are the same way.”

Ken told the newspaper: “I’ve always been completely frank about myself. Fellows out for a stag night come in and laugh at us. But my barmen have a quick answer for any joker, and these lads who come for laughs return as regulars.”

Ken started a pub football team and their opponents taunted: “We’re playing a bunch of fairies.” Ken’s lads thrashed them 16 to 2.

“There’s not a homosexual among them,” he says. “People thought everyone who came in here would be bent.”

The People snickered: “A lot of people would, no doubt, be put off by Ken’s scene. But certainly his sexually – normal regulars are full of praise.”

Before he took over the Merchant’s Hotel, Ken was an Army drill instructor and the pub was run down. Now its turnover is more than £1,000 a week.

The 500-pub Lion brewery, which owns the Merchants says Ken won the award as the “Licensee who made the most effort personally to improve his pub atmosphere, by way of added attractions, customer relationship and genuine desire for his customers’ welfare.”

Being all of that won Ken a weekend in Paris – “Gay Paree” to the People.

Still At It

LONDON: It was reported in GN13 that Chelsea police were using agent provocateur methods of entrapment in the vicinity of The Coleherne public house in London’s Earls Court district. We reported in that issue that Michael, a 34-year-old carpenter, had been fined £25 for mistakenly inviting a plainclothes police sergeant back to his home.

Unfortunately we have to tell you that the police are still at it.The latest victim of this widely condemned practise of using agents provocateurs, is Peter, a 26-year-old German student. For at Marlborough Street magistrate court recently, a police officer claimed that Peter had approached him and two other men in Coleherne Road and had extended invitations to go back to his flat.

Peter at first denied the offence, but later pleaded guilty and was conditionally discharged for twelve months. The German student, of excellent previous character, said in his defence that in Germany it was in no way illegal to extend such invitations in the street, and that he was not aware that the law was different in this country. He most certainly is now.

The Chelsea police must be using some very attractive guardians of the law to protect the public from these major crimes. So be extra careful about who you are friendly to in this particular area.

Further developments in this pitiful situation will appear in the paper.

Members Only At Dutch Bar

AMSTERDAM: The city’s main gay club De Schakel, the club operated until now by COC, the Dutch Society for the Integration of Homosexuality, has closed its doors to gays from other European countries who don’t join COC because COC found that reciprocal membership does not work.

There are now so many homosexual equality groups in Europe that do not have membership cards that it’s now impossible for the De Schakel, which has been transferred to Ingritas Ltd, to check that everyone coming in is a member of a gay organisation.

And even though De Schakel won’t be directly controlled by COC now, Ingritas Ltd gives free entrance to COC members and the Dutch organisation is offering temporary membership of COC to visitors to Amsterdam – for any time between 14 days and a year.

Ingritas Ltd hopes that De Schakel will develop into an integrated, alternative recreation possibility instead of the present stereotype-reinforcing nightclubs.

So, from the beginning of this year, members of foreign organisations and groups will not get free entrance to De Schakel. At the same time COC members are being told that they can’t expect to get in free to gay clubs in other countries.

Carry On Kidding

EDINBURGH: When Councillor Kidd speaks the Scottish press usually listens for he is always controversial copy.

Kidd, the working man’s Longford, has always been proud of his relationship with the police and the press.

The trinity, he assured our reporter, was responsible for cleaning up the Scottish capital’s pubs and clubs of go-go dancers and strippers.

“The situation was desperate,” Kidd states. “Housewives phoned me up seeking help, their husbands were in pubs where these strippers danced, some even dipped their breasts in pints. The housewives were alarmed at the effect these artists were having on their husbands.” With the help of the press, Kidd soon had the situation under control. Pubs and clubs were not his only target, the “Traverse Theatre Club has been behaving itself,” he assured us “in the last 12 months.”

What he didn’t mention was that the club now has a substantial council grant and this may have had a taming effect on that hotbed of liberal depravity.

However Councillor Kidd’s peace of mind didn’t last long, for on St Andrews night, in the capital itself, boobs and beer were once again united. “It’s disgusting,” he said. “I was astounded. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. It’s unbelievable.”

To make matters worse, Kidd could not rely on the support of his old allies, the press. For the boobs and all the other accessories were being flashed in, of all places the Edinburgh press club at their annual St Andrews Day dinner/dance.

FOOTNOTE: Councillor Kidd is a versatile puritan, for he’s one of the most vociferous anti-gay activists in Scotland. See his amazing answers to GN interview in GN7.

McTrouble

GLASGOW: The city’s Black Box News Service, Scotland’s alternative news agency, which ran Spike, the country’s ‘other’ newspaper, until costs caught up with the organisation and the paper had to be folded, is being dragged through the courts by Daeha printers of Oxford, for not paying the print bill on Spike, Issue one.

Black Box say: “We refused to pay the full print bill because they made such an arse of the issue – wrong size, shit paper, and those duplicate ads. If you remember the issue you will see what we mean.”

After their experience with Daeha, Black Box had Spike issue two printed at FI Litho, Gay News’ printers. Then costs killed Spike, the only alternative voice in Scotland.

Legal Discrimination

The Campaign for Homosexual Equality has recently set up a Legal Standing Committee to coordinate efforts to fight discrimination in the implementation of the law by the Courts, the police and the prison service. The committee would like to ask you for your help in two ways, whether or not you are a member of CHE.

First, any offers of help with our task would be most welcome, particularly from anyone with special knowledge in the legal area and from those willing to undertake a definite job of work such as writing letters or articles, speaking to individuals and groups of people, assisting in the organisation of teach-ins, etc.

Secondly, despite several recent appeals for information concerning specific cases of discrimination, information of this type is still very scanty, although we are aware that many documented cases do exist. We should therefore like to ask anyone who knows of such a case to contact us as soon as possible since without this vital information we shall be severely handicapped in our work. Any information will of course be absolutely confidential unless specific permission to divulge it is given.

Would anyone who feels able to help in either of these respects, please contact the Committee at 17, Oxford Terrace, Gateshead, Co. Durham NE8 IRQ.

Victory In The West

BRISTOL: Gay author and playwright Jean Genet has given his permission for the first British production of his play The Screens, which deals with the Algerian war of Independence – in Bristol.

When it opened in Paris, it caused considerable political mayhem, as the scars caused by the loss of Genet’s native France losing its last and favourite colony had not yet healed.

Since then it has been staged in New York, but it has never been performed in this country. So winning the first performance rights is a considerable victory for the provincial theatre.